2012 has proved to be a great year for myself and Team! Barik completed his 1* at Kings Forest coming in 4th place at a speed of 18.47kph (his fastest 80km to date!).
Following Barbury he was let down and did shorter rides with Krissie, whilst I flew back over to South Africa. The Perseverance Stud invited me over to compete in the Tri Nation Championship.
I decided to fly over and spend a month and half from mid April to end of May with them. The Championship would be mid May and would run a 120km near Aldam. Being there over a month would give me plenty of chance to acclimatise whilst reuniting my partnership with PSV Liberty. I also had the chance to ride at Jefferies Bay where I came in 2nd place with Snake’s Mishap. However, this victory was shortly followed by the failure at Tri-Nations. Liberty and I managed to complete the entire 120km only to fail on high pulse at the very end. It later emerged that the water supply had been contaminated.
Back in the UK, Barik and I resumed our training together. A month home and we sailed into 1st place at the Young Horse 80km at Kings Forest at a speed of 17.2kph.
During August, Barik faced his biggest challenge of his endurance career, to compete in the FEI** 120km at Barbury Castle. Due to hot/humid conditions it was a very tough ride. More experienced senior riders and horses failed throughout the day but Barik proved himself with a 5th place at a speed of 13.52kph. After this race Barik hung his shoes up for the season and has since been enjoying his holiday out in the field with his cousin, Djelanza.
Chador (aka Shandy) has slowly been training throughout the year, barefoot! Slow steady work over a variety of terrain in order to help toughen up her feet but also to strengthen her after almost 3 years being out of work.
Shandy has successful completed 3 NCR’s of 32km on some tough courses; 2x with Glove Boots on the fronts only and 1 completely barefoot.
The Forest of Dean ride runs across hard/stoned forestry tracks so she wore boots for this. The vets were most impressed how she did the ride perfectly fine with no boots on the back. The second ride we rode round the Long Myndd completely barefoot! Quite a tough ride due to the hills and I didn’t realise how much road work we have. But Shandy proved herself by jogging to the top of the Myndd and then proceeding to canter across the top. Our third ride was at the Red Dragon. The Dragon is deemed one of our tough rides of the calendar. Due to wet conditions and it being the third day the mud was knee deep in places. But Shandy did the distance not loosing a boot and proceeded in galloping across the top, jumping puddles just like in her younger days. The last time we were at Dragon together we raced it and from her reactions I think she remembered!
Words can not express how pleased and happy I am to be reunited and riding Shandy again after her 3 year break. It is great to see she has taken to being barefoot and also how her old injury has not reacted and nor has her arthritis.
Djelanza is now a yearling. He’s continually growing daily and has turned into a very cheeky young colt. Can’t leave anything near him as he will disappear off down the field to play with it, as my Gran found out when she saw Jazz disappearing off with a flag which looked very similar to her fleece! That fleece came back in two pieces!
So an excellent year all in all! Winter will see Shandy and Barik doing some dressage and the slow work, whilst Jazz continues his halter lead training as well as trips off to the woods. Already thinking about next year and plans for all three and also the possibilities of where my travels could take me………..